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Memorials and Patrons: How northern Afghan elites try to own history

Elites in Mazar-e Sharif, the capital of Balkh province and most important city in the north, have, in recent years, supported the building of new memorials and re-naming of the city’s streets and intersections. They are also sponsoring intellectuals and their literary and artistic output. These are politically driven cultural projects, attempts by the leading […]

Elections 2014 (4): The election day in snapshots from the provinces

How did election day go? After a first collection of voices from the provinces on the day before the vote (read here), we continued to hear from our friends and from journalists, civil society activists and government officials across the country. We asked them to describe what they saw in terms of voter turnout, atmosphere, fraud – […]

Rallies, Debate, Rain and Snow: The 2014 presidential election campaign starts

The Afghan presidential election campaign has kicked off – two months before polling day. Candidates are showing a range of attitudes, from launching big, brash public rallies to a rather desultory ‘we start tomorrow’ attitude. With no evident frontrunner, it seems the campaign will involve a real attempt to win over voters and will be […]

One Year of Transition: A Look Back (1)

The second phase of transition, which was announced on 27 November 2011, is drawing to a close after a long winter, and after a turbulent few weeks that have refocused attention on the fall-out over the ongoing conflict. Many more areas of Afghanistan have witnessed an official transfer of security, while information about the third […]

Afghanistan’s business elite has its own election

Last month Afghanistan’s Chamber of Commerce, the ACCI, elected its new leadership. The process was not without controversy. A lively pre-election trade in ACCI membership cards allowed large numbers of underage children and people who had nothing to do with running a business to participate in the vote at the provincial level. And at the […]

The Enteqal Seven (7): Opportunities and Concerns in the North

More than one month has passed since Mazar-e Sharif was officially transitioned to the responsibility of the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF), along with the cities of Herat, Lashkargah and Mehtarlam, the provinces of Bamian and Panjshir, and most of Kabul. In the last of this series of blogs, AAN’s Fabrizio Foschini, with the help […]

The Dead of Mazar

Today, our thoughts are with the UN colleagues who were killed in Mazar-e Sharif yesterday and also with the Afghans killed there(*), not knowing whether they had just been using their constitutional right to demonstrate or indeed had murder in their hearts. And we hope that Pastor Jones in Gainesville, Florida, had a sleepless night, […]

Guest Blog: Mining the ‘Intangible Cultural Heritage’

The big Logar copper mine of Mes-e Aynak, with its Buddhist finds, epitomizes a dilemma many countries are facing: excavate your natural resources or protect your cultural heritage (and natural environment). In Afghanistan, after three decades of violent conflict, the latter is threatened to lose out in this competition. But as the country’s archeological sites, […]